Cultivate London and Brentford Lock West have been working together since 2011. What started as a tentative collaboration between a fledgling social enterprise and an innovative new development has grown into a strong working partnership with an exciting future.
Cultivate London began life as a horticultural and youth training social enterprise back in 2010. In our early days, we turned vacant plots of land into vibrant urban farms, and used food growing as a vehicle to provide training and employment for disadvantaged young people from west London. Our first ‘farm’ was four small polytunnels set on a 1600m2 car park, under which we grew herbs, salads and potted veg for sale. They owner of that car park was ISIS Waterside Regeneration – developers of Brentford Lock West – who were willing to take a chance on a then-unknown social enterprise. This car park was where the first phase of Brentford Lock West now stands.
Eventually the development ran out of vacant land for Cultivate London to operate on, and we moved to our current site in South Acton. Fortunately, this was not the end of the Cultivate London-Brentford Lock West partnership. As Brentford Lock West grew, so too did Cultivate London: In 2015, we diversified our youth training activities to include a landscape gardening enterprise (now our main focus), and Brentford Lock West subsequently hired us to manage the allotment gardens on the roof of the newly- built first phase of their development. This was yet another innovative collaboration. Not only were these rooftop allotments unique among new developments in London, but part of Cultivate London’s remit was to actively engage Brentford Lock West residents in “growing their own” on this site. Cultivate London managed a demonstration garden in the initial phases of letting the allotments, and also provided residents with a range of food growing training in order to help get their own gardens started.
“It is important our gardening maintenance contractor meet certain criteria. [Cultivate London] has exceeded them all: their rates are competitive, they use environmentally friendly products and methods, and their interaction with residents has been first class. That they give young people valuable training and jobs is another plus point.”
Estate Manager, Brentford Lock West.
This new collaboration was a great success, and when the opportunity arose to take on the maintenance contract for Brentford Lock West’s grounds, it was offered to Cultivate London. We took it, and haven’t looked back since.
The Partnership Today
Cultivate London now maintains the grounds on both phase one and two of the Brentford Lock West development, and there are plans for us to take on management of the grounds on phase three when it is complete in 2021.
In addition to regularly maintaining the site, we have re-landscaped both phases in order that the grounds better fit with what Brentford Lock West residents want, and with the local surroundings. Local residents are so happy with our work that we also separately manage a number of private gardens within the development.
Additional services we provide to Brentford Lock West include:
- Sourcing materials and plants
- Supplying recycled timber planters and potting tables
- Christmas light installation
We have now handed over management of the highly popular allotments to Brentford Lock West residents, as our regular involvement is no longer required. However, we do still run occasional on-site training sessions, and were involved in a recent upgrade of the site.
Why Cultivate London
Cultivate London delivers not only highly professional landscape gardening and maintenance services, but also social outcomes, all at a competitive rate.
Our garden designs are beautiful, innovative, and environmentally friendly. Where possible, we use native plants.
We are also not for profit: all income we make through our commercial contracts is ploughed back into providing training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people, and we deliver a range of community-based food growing projects across west London. Indeed, community engagement is at the core of what we do, including within our commercial work, something which sets us apart from other commercial enterprises.
Cultivate London is much more than just a landscape gardening enterprise. We are driven by our passion for people and for innovative, sustainable garden design.